A great Joao beat Felix Xavi

Jordi Blanco, correspondent in BarcelonaSep 16, 2023, 5:37 PM ETReading: 3 min.

With the number 14 on his back, Joao Félix made his debut in front of the Barça crowd in impressive fashion.

JOAO FÉLIX is the signing (transfer) imposed by Joan Laborda on Xavi Hernandez. Three days before the summer transfer window closed, technical staff said the Portuguese did not respond to Barcelona’s needs and that his profile was already “well under wraps” at the team. But the insistence and command of the President made the arrival of a football player of exceptional quality and performance intermittent and doubtful.

Joao Felix played elegant football.Good pictures

His presentation at Montjuic, however, achieved Laporta’s desired effect. With the number 14 on his back, Joao Félix made his debut in front of the Barça crowd in spectacular fashion. If Joao Cancelo’s role was good, last-minute loanee, midfielder, midfielder, striker and everything needed in attack, he was confused with his movement and broke the patterns of a Betis team that went crazy with his touch.

Pellegrini’s side could outscore Barca at times at will, but Joao Felix’s finesse got him past him in the first half and it was a verdict. He subtly made it 1-0 on 25 minutes and just after the half-hour mark Christensen’s deep pass brilliantly reached Lewandowski as the Portuguese looked on.

If Betis wants it, Joao Félix can. With Jorge Mendes’ unconditional support, the president’s request would not have been such a bad idea, Chavi Hernandez applauded, laughing on the sidelines.

FERRAN TORRES Barça have not scored from a direct free kick since May 2, 2021, against Mestalla and Valencia. It was definitely scored by Leo Messi. And 1,233 days, two years and four months later, Ferran Torres broke the spell and scored against Betis in a 3-0 win from a direct free kick.

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That was the square of the circle, the cherry on top of their night. For the night he reclaimed the franchise and walked out amid shouts of ‘Jazz’ from a devoted fan base. Hard-working in defence, brave in attack, good in combination and ready to pick, he twice finished with danger…until he found the gift of a goal that, necessarily, will be remembered.

ORIOL ROMEU It is not easy for the Catalan midfielder to be considered the best footballer in a competition, but his work on the pitch proves that it is not essential. Always well positioned when distributing the game, he does not complicate things and very easily finds his partner in the best position to continue the game with precision, without taking risks.

Defensively, he is a ‘broom’ capable of sweeping all balls that pass through his zone, and provides effective pressure, not least De Jong, who appreciates his company and his secondary but excellent role.

JOAO CANCELO Lateral, an attack that fits like a glove. His first right was enough to show that he should be untouchable in the position and that Barça, like Joao Felix, know how to negotiate and keep him as an asset at the end of the season.

If Balte on the left becomes a vertical, elusive, fast and very dangerous winger, Cancelo runs down the right, looks like an interior and relies on both wing and centre, give Barça the profile he doesn’t remember and the opposite of Betis. The work was exceptional, so he closed it with a wonderful goal.

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